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Old 01-03-2011, 09:22 PM   #1
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Default Education Issues

There was some discussion about USA textbooks in another thread, and I thought it might be good to have a thread where opinions and articles that pertain to educational issues (good, bad, USA or otherwise, grade school, secondary, post-secondary) might be addressed.
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:24 PM   #2
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Virginia Delegate David Englin Proposes Legislation To Fix School Textbooks



After one textbook's inaccuracies garnered significant media attention in October, Virginia Delegate David Englin (D-Alexandria) is proposing legislation to get school primers properly proofed.

The Washington Post reported that Englin's bill would hold publishers accountable and require them to prove review of textbooks by subject-area specialists. He said the state of public education is at stake.

"As a legislator and a parent, I was shocked and appalled to learn that Virginia social studies textbooks had such egregious factual inaccuracies. As parents, the bare minimum we expect from textbooks is that the facts are correct."
"Our Virginia: Past and Present," published by Five Ponds Press, was released during the fall to thousands of Virginian students. Although vetted by textbook review committees, it included a variety of errors, from wrong dates to misspellings.

One section of the textbook tells students that thousands of African Americans fought as confederate soldiers during the Civil War, a statistic that is not validated by mainstream historians.

Carol Sheriff, a professor at William & Mary, told CNN that the mistakes weren't just inaccurate, but irresponsible.

"It is the equivalent of holocaust denial being taught in public schools but worse. It's also equivalent to saying the Jews helped the Holocaust."
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:43 AM   #3
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http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ans...l?hpid=topnews


I think this is the article that got Englin started
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:29 PM   #4
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In Florida, Virtual Classrooms With No Teachers
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:46 PM   #5
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Another Anoka-Hennepin School District Fail: Lesbian Couple Banned From Pep Rally Earns A Lawsuit + A Settlement

Read more: http://www.queerty.com/another-anoka...#ixzz1CfwSgdg4
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:40 PM   #6
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Default Tennessee

Proposed bill may quiet conversation on homosexuality

For most elementary school students, the issue of sexuality may barely register on their radars. But it may be this season's political hot topic.

A proposed bill in the Tennessee Legislature wants to spell out how schools can introduce sexuality - and only heterosexuality - to your child. It's sponsored by State Sen. Stacey Campfield and Rep. Bill Dunn - both Republicans from Knoxville.


At the heart of the bill is a move to prevent children in elementary and middle schools to have classes that discuss sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.

Gay rights activists say it's a ploy to further discriminate against them.
Those who support the bill say it's about having age appropriate curriculum.

"You're looking at legislation that is going to make sure that when you are talking about sexuality with students that it is age appropriate," said Matthew Parsons, a father of seven children and founder of the group "Something Better."

He says he's in favor of the proposed bill that avoids talking about homosexuality to kids so young.

"If we're talking about homosexuality, we are talking about specific acts that are going to be unhealthy for anybody to engage in outside of marriage."

The bill, known as House Bill 229 or Senate Bill 49, says in part: "No public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality."

At least one group says that's anti-gay - and calls it the "Don't Say Gay" bill.

"The Don't Say Gay bill raises all kinds of issues about anti-gay bias, free speech and government overreach," said Ben Byers with the Tennessee Equality Project.

The group recently received $10,000 from the Human Rights Campaign to fight what they consider negative legislation in Tennessee, including HB 229.

"It limits what teachers and students are able to discuss in the classroom," Byers said. "It means they can't talk about gay issues or sexuality even with students who may be gay or have gay family."

Both Byers and Parsons agree it's a parent's job to talk to their children about sex but disagree on if homosexuality should be a part of that conversation.

Sen. Campfield's office released the following statement about the bill:
"It's the family's responsibility and not someone with an agenda - one way or the other. The bill is neutral. We should leave it to families to decide when it is appropriate to talk with children about sexuality - specifically before the eighth grade."

The Tennessee Equality Project says there are ways to discuss human sexuality without politicizing the issue in the classroom.
The group also says there is no curriculum in Tennessee that discusses sexuality in grades K-8 so the bill is not needed.

Both Byers and Parsons say they will be watching how the bill progresses.
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:32 PM   #7
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Default I find it remarkable that teacher salaries can be dependent on student scores in the USA (or the school funding)

I know...he's a celebrity...but, I am glad someone called President Obama out on this. In our Canadian system, schools who perform lower, get MORE funding, smaller class sizes, and other remedial tools to help their lower achieving students (who are, always, from disadvantaged areas).


_________________________


Matt Damon Calls Out President Obama, Education Policy

This is not the man he voted for.

Matt Damon sat down with Piers Morgan for an interview that will air Thursday night, and among other things, talked about his feelings on the first two years of President Obama's administration. During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Damon was a vocal Obama supporter, campaigning for the then-candidate at rallies, promoting him through a MoveOn video contest and attending fundraisers for him.

Now, he's not so enthused about Obama. When asked if he was happy with the way the President is running the country, Damon said, point blank, "no."

"I really think he misinterpreted his mandate. A friend of mine said to me the other day, I thought it was a great line, 'I no longer hope for audacity,'" Damon said. "He's doubled down on a lot of things, going back to education... the idea that we're testing kids and we're tying teachers salaries to how kids are performing on tests, that kind of mechanized thinking has nothing to do with higher order. We're training them, not teaching them.

For the full interview, tune into Damon and the rest of the cast of the new film, "The Adjustment Bureau" on "Piers Morgan Tonight" at 9 PM EST on Thursday.
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
I know...he's a celebrity...but, I am glad someone called President Obama out on this. In our Canadian system, schools who perform lower, get MORE funding, smaller class sizes, and other remedial tools to help their lower achieving students (who are, always, from disadvantaged areas).
I think bureaucrats would say that is true here, but my experience is that none of the proferred solutions are what actual teachers and schools need to help their students learn.

Even at my own school, where I have been very happy teaching, the move is towards collecting data, rather than professional development.

In the next very few years, all of the administrators will be 35+ year old men who have very little teaching experience.
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:26 PM   #9
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Unfortunately, Obama has traveled the same road as Bush concerning education policy in the US. And now the Tea Party has an edge to bust public emplyee/teacher unions.

I will be honest, as a former classroom teacher, I did see some "dead wood" that needed clearing. But, show me an industry anywhere that doesn't have this happen. The practice of moving a unproductive or just plain lousy teacher around a district has done a lot a damage to the public perception of teachers in the US. But, it is a false assumption to think that this does not happen in private businesses.

There are many things about tenure, I disagree with, yet, I have to think about the dangers without it and things like sexuality. We all have a right to our private lives.

I have never liked the fact that school administrators can simply get a degree in admin and never teach in a classroom, yet run a school or a school district!!! That is just crazy! It has divided school administration and teacher even further.

As I said, I have worked with teachers in the past that took advantage of school districts, which really means students. And I do support changes in tenure policy to keep these kinds of folks from becoming tenured. Not very lefty of me, but it is how I feel.

need to add that teacher salaries need to reflect the professionals they are- everywhere!
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:57 PM   #10
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from the current issue of NEA Today Magazine, which i get because i am currently a credentialed classroom teacher:

Quote:
Tenure doesn’t guarantee anyone a job. It guarantees due process: Teachers are told why they are being terminated and given an opportunity to challenge that reason. During the two, three, four, or even more years that a teacher must work before earning tenure, that teacher can be fired for no reason at all. Eliminating tenure would be like a never-ending probationary period.

Tenure laws were created to keep school officials from axing teachers out of prejudice or anger, or just to make room for a politician’s relative. Those who want to get rid of tenure often say it was needed in the olden days, but times have changed. How so? Have we banished prejudice, anger, and politicians’ relatives? Do we really want to jeopardize teachers’ willingness to speak up regarding instructional, curricular, safety, or other issues that affect students and school staff?

If someone doesn’t have what it takes to teach, there’s plenty of time for a principal to tell that person to find a new career before tenure applies. Principals need the skills and the time to evaluate and work with teachers in those first years before tenure. Let’s end “drive-by” evaluations. But eliminating due process is not the way to attract and retain the best and brightest. Stronger professional development, better mentoring, and more useful teacher evaluation-all of which NEA locals are working to strengthen-are better ideas.

In human terms.
Jane Jackson (not her real name) is a special education teacher who received a harsh letter of reprimand charging her with insubordination and threatening “further action.” Why? She told the truth when a child advocate asked whether a student’s individual education plan was being carried out.

Jackson had tenure. She kept her job and her union got the reprimand erased. But what if she had not had due process? She might well have been fired for doing the right thing.

Educators without tenure have been terminated or non-renewed for reporting unsafe conditions to the superintendent, complaining about the mishandling of funds, criticizing the district’s dress code in public, filing a grievance, or being married to a union organizer.

Most administrators are fair-minded. Tenure is to protect you if you run into one who isn’t.
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Old 03-02-2011, 08:29 PM   #11
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But eliminating due process is not the way to attract and retain the best and brightest. Stronger professional development, better mentoring, and more useful teacher evaluation-all of which NEA locals are working to strengthen-are better ideas.

Totally agree with this- and every emplyee/worker must have due process- public or private. I have concerns, however, about the deluge of administrators without prior classroom experience evaluating teachers as well as how the process is constructed.

It feels like graduate programs in counseling and psychotherapy that license clinicians from programs in which they are not required to be in therapy themselves for a period of time or are required to process record their work.

To be fair, school administrators are often locked into the politics of districts and end up with very little time spent with their faculty as well as observing them in the classroom.
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:25 PM   #12
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The problem with approaching education "like a business" is we are dealing with children, not "products."

As far as I'm aware, other professions that deal exclusively with humans are not monitored and evaluated based on the performance of their human. Doctors are not hired/fired based on how many people they cure. Psychologists' jobs do not depend solely on the progress of their patients. Yet we, as a nation, are demanding that teachers "fix" students by tying the student's performance to the teacher. And we give less and less and less personal responsibility to the students themselves.

If you (collective you) want to know what teachers do, go sit in a classroom. Walk through a school. See how many teachers have their feet propped up on a desk with the paper while the class runs amuck. Yes, those teachers need to be fired. As should a doctor who is killing patients.

We are not dealing with boxes of Cheerios that need new marketing. We are dealing with children. Children who come to us with all different levels of experiences and backgrounds. Children who sometimes don't have breakfast. Or a bed. Or sometimes have too much breakfast and beds. To expect ANYONE to level that playing field in a year for high stakes testing is ridiculous. Would we expect a disease to be cured after one visit?

Students should be progress monitored using multiple modes of assessments. If a pattern emerges that students in a class are rarely or never making progress, someone should start stopping by the damn classroom and find out what's going on. Not a Dog and Pony Show evaluation, but several unannounced visits. No teacher's success should ever be linked to 1 test on 1 day.
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:58 PM   #13
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Why Is Arkansas Christian School Harding University Telling Gay Students They Must Turn Straight?

Read more: http://www.queerty.com/why-is-arkans...#ixzz1Fb0ewG6K
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Old 03-03-2011, 09:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blush View Post
The problem with approaching education "like a business" is we are dealing with children, not "products."

As far as I'm aware, other professions that deal exclusively with humans are not monitored and evaluated based on the performance of their human. Doctors are not hired/fired based on how many people they cure. Psychologists' jobs do not depend solely on the progress of their patients. Yet we, as a nation, are demanding that teachers "fix" students by tying the student's performance to the teacher. And we give less and less and less personal responsibility to the students themselves.

If you (collective you) want to know what teachers do, go sit in a classroom. Walk through a school. See how many teachers have their feet propped up on a desk with the paper while the class runs amuck. Yes, those teachers need to be fired. As should a doctor who is killing patients.

We are not dealing with boxes of Cheerios that need new marketing. We are dealing with children. Children who come to us with all different levels of experiences and backgrounds. Children who sometimes don't have breakfast. Or a bed. Or sometimes have too much breakfast and beds. To expect ANYONE to level that playing field in a year for high stakes testing is ridiculous. Would we expect a disease to be cured after one visit?

Students should be progress monitored using multiple modes of assessments. If a pattern emerges that students in a class are rarely or never making progress, someone should start stopping by the damn classroom and find out what's going on. Not a Dog and Pony Show evaluation, but several unannounced visits. No teacher's success should ever be linked to 1 test on 1 day.
Thinking of major districts (like DC and NYC) in which the whole "run it like a business" concept was adopted. And in some cases, 100s of teachers were simply fired. All based upon test results. Boards across the US are aiming for this kind of action.

I am and always have been an advocate for public schools. I don't know if my kid were in school, today, if I would move him into a private school- mainly because of testing. Or, I would opt him out of taking these tests. A child is not a robot. Nor are teachers. (Which does not mean I do not want measurable outcomes of learning- but this is not the way).

Frankly, I am glad I taught in a very different era. I actually felt joy teaching. Demanding, but rewarding- and I felt supported by administration and parents. I don't hear this much anymore from teachers.
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Old 03-06-2011, 01:20 PM   #15
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Let Nikki Peet Start A Gay-Straight Alliance in Corpus Christi, Texas

When Nikki Peet recently asked for a safe space for students to meet and discuss issues like anti-gay bullying at Flour Bluff High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, she expected the support of her school district.

But instead, Dr. Julia Carbajal -- Flour Bluff's Superintendent -- decided to cancel all extra-curricular clubs in order to prevent Nikki’s "Gay Straight Alliance" (GSA) student group from forming. It's her way of getting around the federal "Equal Access Act" law mandating simliar access on school grounds to student groups, regardless of their politics or philosophy.

We know what happens when schools fail to address the bullying of LGBT kids: depression, isolation, and suicide. So we need to help.

Please click here to sign the petition to Nikki’s school administrators, calling on them to approve her Gay Straight Alliance group -- and reinstate all extra-curricular groups.

http://www.change.org/petitions/let-...new=f&opt_fb=f

Nine out of ten LGBT students experience harassment in school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. At least two-thirds feel unsafe in the classroom. LGBT teens can be up to four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers.

In just a few days, nearly 4,000 Change.org members have signed the petition supporting Nikki, sharing the story on Facebook and forwarding emails like this to their friends.

This Friday, Nikki and members of the Corpus Christi community are organizing a major demonstration outside Flour Bluff High School. At the protest, Nikki and her supporters will be delivering petition signatures to Flour Bluff administrators, sending a strong message that it’s time to provide a safe, caring and effective learning environment for all students -- including LGBT youth.

The superintendent's outrageous actions have garnered attention throughout the U.S. Students, parents, and school officials everywhere are watching to see what happens -- and the outcome in Corpus Christi will have reverberations across the country.

Sign our petition today, so Nikki can deliver the signatures of as many people as possible this Friday in Texas:

http://www.change.org/petitions/let-...new=f&opt_fb=f
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Old 04-20-2011, 02:17 PM   #16
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Coming Out on a Christian Campus, Then and Now
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Old 04-20-2011, 03:10 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowSoonIsNow View Post
Let Nikki Peet Start A Gay-Straight Alliance in Corpus Christi, Texas

When Nikki Peet recently asked for a safe space for students to meet and discuss issues like anti-gay bullying at Flour Bluff High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, she expected the support of her school district.

But instead, Dr. Julia Carbajal -- Flour Bluff's Superintendent -- decided to cancel all extra-curricular clubs in order to prevent Nikki’s "Gay Straight Alliance" (GSA) student group from forming. It's her way of getting around the federal "Equal Access Act" law mandating simliar access on school grounds to student groups, regardless of their politics or philosophy.

We know what happens when schools fail to address the bullying of LGBT kids: depression, isolation, and suicide. So we need to help.

Please click here to sign the petition to Nikki’s school administrators, calling on them to approve her Gay Straight Alliance group -- and reinstate all extra-curricular groups.

http://www.change.org/petitions/let-...new=f&opt_fb=f

Nine out of ten LGBT students experience harassment in school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. At least two-thirds feel unsafe in the classroom. LGBT teens can be up to four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers.

In just a few days, nearly 4,000 Change.org members have signed the petition supporting Nikki, sharing the story on Facebook and forwarding emails like this to their friends.

This Friday, Nikki and members of the Corpus Christi community are organizing a major demonstration outside Flour Bluff High School. At the protest, Nikki and her supporters will be delivering petition signatures to Flour Bluff administrators, sending a strong message that it’s time to provide a safe, caring and effective learning environment for all students -- including LGBT youth.

The superintendent's outrageous actions have garnered attention throughout the U.S. Students, parents, and school officials everywhere are watching to see what happens -- and the outcome in Corpus Christi will have reverberations across the country.

Sign our petition today, so Nikki can deliver the signatures of as many people as possible this Friday in Texas:

http://www.change.org/petitions/let-...new=f&opt_fb=f

Nikki was successful and the organization now meets on campus!
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:17 PM   #18
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Let Nikki Peet Start A Gay-Straight Alliance in Corpus Christi, Texas

When Nikki Peet recently asked for a safe space for students to meet and discuss issues like anti-gay bullying at Flour Bluff High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, she expected the support of her school district.

But instead, Dr. Julia Carbajal -- Flour Bluff's Superintendent -- decided to cancel all extra-curricular clubs in order to prevent Nikki’s "Gay Straight Alliance" (GSA) student group from forming. It's her way of getting around the federal "Equal Access Act" law mandating simliar access on school grounds to student groups, regardless of their politics or philosophy.

We know what happens when schools fail to address the bullying of LGBT kids: depression, isolation, and suicide. So we need to help.

Please click here to sign the petition to Nikki’s school administrators, calling on them to approve her Gay Straight Alliance group -- and reinstate all extra-curricular groups.

http://www.change.org/petitions/let-...new=f&opt_fb=f

Nine out of ten LGBT students experience harassment in school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. At least two-thirds feel unsafe in the classroom. LGBT teens can be up to four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers.

In just a few days, nearly 4,000 Change.org members have signed the petition supporting Nikki, sharing the story on Facebook and forwarding emails like this to their friends.

This Friday, Nikki and members of the Corpus Christi community are organizing a major demonstration outside Flour Bluff High School. At the protest, Nikki and her supporters will be delivering petition signatures to Flour Bluff administrators, sending a strong message that it’s time to provide a safe, caring and effective learning environment for all students -- including LGBT youth.

The superintendent's outrageous actions have garnered attention throughout the U.S. Students, parents, and school officials everywhere are watching to see what happens -- and the outcome in Corpus Christi will have reverberations across the country.

Sign our petition today, so Nikki can deliver the signatures of as many people as possible this Friday in Texas:

http://www.change.org/petitions/let-...new=f&opt_fb=f
I wish folks would get as pissed off and upset about the 'new and improved' curriculum that is resulting in new textbooks being written courtesy of the Texas State School Board. The effects of these new textbooks will be felt across the nation. And in my mind is far more important.
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:27 PM   #19
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I wish folks would get as pissed off and upset about what the 'new and improved' curriculum that is resulting in new textbooks being written courtesy of the Texas State School Board. The effects of these new textbooks will be felt across the nation. And in my mind is far more important.
In other states, too. All with the "pages to copy" workbooks that take creativity out of teaching. We are in a mess with education in the US on many fronts. And it is going to bite us in the ass.

When I think about this, I see why so many Republi-Cons want to do away with the federal Department of Education. I don't want to rely on "states rights" mentality in curriculum development. Think about all of the historical facts that could be wiped-out or re-interpreted without some kind of federal intervention.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:51 AM   #20
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Default Tennessee

'Don't say gay' bill clears Senate panel
By Tom Humphrey

Thursday, April 21, 2011

NASHVILLE - After some convoluted maneuvers, a Senate committee Wednesday approved a bill that will prohibit teachers from discussing homosexuality in kindergarten through eighth-grade classrooms.

The measure (SB49) is sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, who unsuccessfully pushed the same idea - nicknamed the "don't say gay" bill - for six years as a member of the state House before he was elected to the Senate.

As introduced, the bill would have put into law a declaration that it is illegal to discuss any sexual behavior other than heterosexuality prior to the ninth grade.

But when it came before the Senate Education Committee, Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, contended current law already prohibits such instruction by deeming it a misdemeanor to teach any sex education that is not part of the "family life curriculum" adopted by the state Board of Education.

Tracy proposed an amendment to rewrite Campfield's bill to require the Board of Education to study the issue and determine whether any teaching about homosexuality is occurring and, if so, recommend what should be done about it.

Campfield contends homosexuality is being discussed in classrooms. Spokesmen for the Board of Education and the state Department of Education told the committee they are unaware of any such activity.

The Tracy amendment passed over Campfield's objections.

But then Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, proposed to change the Tracy amendment. The revision declares that, after its study to be completed by Feb. 1 of next year, the Board of Education "shall adopt" - as part of the family life curriculum - a ban on discussion of homosexuality in the same language used in Campfield's bill.

That amendment was adopted, too, and the revised bill was then approved 6-3 and sent to the Senate floor. All no votes came from Democrats.

--

Campfield has been criticized on some blogs this week for seeking a $1,000 "retainer" fee to debate the "don't say gay" bill with Del Shores, a Texas-based movie producer and director who has made films on homosexuality.

State law includes prohibitions on a legislator taking compensation for work related to legislative duties except for his or her salary and expense payments due from the state. Another statute prohibits legislators from accepting an honorarium except for travel expenses.

Campfield said his request, which came in an exchange of messages with Shores, was simply for a deposit to guarantee that his travel expenses would be paid.

"I'm not going to pay air fare to Texas and a hotel, then have the guy stiff me," he said, adding the retainer request came when he understood the debate would be in Texas.

Drew Rawlins, executive director of the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, said he did not believe the ban on extra compensation for legislative duties would apply in this case because a debate in Texas is "probably not part of his legislative duties."

Rawlins said there was a "potential violation" of the honorarium ban in the situation as he understood it, but that someone would have to file a formal complaint to trigger a formal investigation into that question.

Tom Humphrey may be reached at 615-242-7782.

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2011/ap...panel/?print=1
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